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Saga Dawa Festival

Saga Dawa Festival Tour

Celebrate the Most Auspicious and Significant Religious Festival with Tibetans

When the star of Saga appears in the sky in the fourth month of Tibetan Calendar, Tibetan Buddhists start to celebrate the most auspicious and significant time of a year: Saga Dawa Festival. This month-long festival honors Buddha Sakyamuni whose birth, enlightenment, and nirvana all took place in the same month and reaches its peak on 23 May 2024.

Believing that the good deeds and prayers are multiplied thousand-fold during this period, people are much more merciful than usual: we do Kora around Jokhang Temple and give out alms to needy people, refrain from killing animals and release captured animals (like fish) into their natural habitats with sincere prayers, making it the "Month of Merits". More pilgrims visit Mt Kailash during Saga Dawa Festival to attend the flagpole-erecting ceremony at Tarboche and do Kora around Mt Kailash - the greatest activity for our Tibetan Buddhists.

Our Saga Dawa Festival Tours offer you one of the ideal opportunities to see local people celebrating their most important religious festival, and a chance to experience this unique culture. Not only can you watch the grandeur Buddhist activities, but you can also join in with the prayers and kora to feel the devout and benevolence of Tibetan culture.

Most Common Questions about Saga Dawa Festival Tour

1.Why Saga Dawa Festival is Also Called “the Poor’s Day”?

Saga means “the fourth” and Dawa refers to “month” in Tibetan. This festival is celebrated for whole month and is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in Tibet. But the fifteenth day of the month is very special as Sakyamuni was born, attained Nirvana (enlightenment), stepped into Parinirvana (death). Tibetans believe that it would accumulate immense of merits during that particular day by giving generosity, stopping killing animals and eating meats, etc. Monks chanting in monasteries, cham dancing and other religious activities dominate the occasion. The festival is called “Qiong Ren Jie/ The Poor’s Day” in Chinese which means poor people’s day because Tibetan peoples’ generosity to the poor people is well known.

2.What to See in Saga Dawa Festival?

Here are some of the typical scenes you can see during Saga Dawa Festival:
- Hundreds of Tibetan people circumambulating around the Barkhor, Tsekhor(Circuit around Potala) and Lingkhor.
- Liberation of fishes in Lhasa River(Kyichu) and other animals according to their budgets.
- Monks reciting prayer in assembly hall in monasteries and serving butter tea during intermission.
- Hundreds of Tibetan people lining up in Drepung kitchen for making their donation for the monks chanting prayers in assembly hall.
- Tibetan people will never eat meats during the 15th day of the Saga Dawa and you can see every Tibetans eating vegetables in restaurant after finishing their circumambulation.
- Tibetan peoples busy with visiting various monasteries.
- Tibetan peoples’ generosity to the poor people by giving them material help.
- After finished visiting monasteries, Tibetans will go for picnics in different picnic centers in Lhasa.
- Even in picnics, older Tibetans mumbling mantras by rosary in left hand and small prayer wheel in their right hand.

3.When to Go for Saga Dawa Festival in 2024?

Saga Dawa Festival is the most significant religious festival in Tibet. The Saga Dawa Festival is celebrated on April 15 in Tibetan calendar. The Saga Dawa Festival will be celebrated on 23 May 2024 in the solar calendar.

4.Where to Go for Saga Dawa Festival?

If you take a Saga Dawa Festival tour in Lhasa, don't forget to be a part of the huge crowd that visits the Dzongyab Lukhang Park at the foot of Potala for a late afternoon picnic. In fact, this has become some sort of a yearly ritual for the people in Tibet. On this day each year, the people will dress in their splendid attire and sing and dance and have a picnic or gathering in Lingka.

Except in Lhasa, you can also experience the Saga Dawa Festival at Mt. Kailash, the holiest mountain in Tibet. Thousands of Tibetan Buddhists would go to worship the sacred mountain during the Saga Dawa Festival.

5.What to Do in Saga Dawa Festival?

People have a lot to do during this holy festival, to name a few:
Jokhang Temple - Kora, monk chanting and rituals
Potala Palace - Kora, Tibetan Buddhists from all directions
Lake Lhasa - Fish liberation, rituals and others
Mt Kailash - Flagpole erecting rituals and 3-day kora
Lake Manasarovar - Religious walk, holy dip and others

6.Why Mt Kailash Kora is So Important in Saga Dawa Festival?

Standing 6714 meters high, the mysterious and mythical Mt Kailash has been a religious sanctuary since pre-Buddhist times. The kora around Mt Kailash is one of the most important pilgrimages in Asia. It is believed that one kora around Mt Kailash cleanses sins of this lifetime, 108 koras breaks the cycle of rebirth and assures one of nirvana at death.

It is a great opportunity to do kora around Mt Kailash during Saga Dawa Festival because it is the time when the good deeds and prayers are multiplied thousand-fold. Besides, a new flagpole will be erected at Tarboche at Mt Kailash on April 15th, besides joining in the once-in-a-year ceremony, you can do kora around the new flagpole with pilgrims from all directions. In Tibetan Buddhism, thirteen circles around this holy flagpole is equivalent to one kora around Mt. Kailash in merit.

>> Know More about the Grandest Saga Dawa Festival at Sacred Mt. Kailash

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Besides involving yourself in the most auspicious and significant religious festival with Tibetan and pilgrims from all directions, it is very agreeable to travel Tibet in June. Speak 1:1 with a dedicated expert for your scenic and spiritual Tibet tour in Saga Dawa Festival.

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